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Patricia Puentes

“Game of Thrones” Recap: Key Episodes to Help You Prepare for “House of the Dragon”

game of thrones ghost dog

House of the Dragon is coming and you can read our review here . HBO’s Game of Thrones ( GoT ) prequel centering on House Targaryen, the platinum blonde dragon-riding family, premieres this Sunday, August 21. And even though the events of this new GoT -universe show are set hundreds of years before the times of Arya Stark, Jon Snow, Cersei Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen, we thought we’d revisit some of Game of Thrones ’ key episodes to catch up with the main characters, lore, family dynasties and lingo of Westeros.

Season 1, Episode 1: “Winter Is Coming”

game of thrones ghost dog

When Game of Thrones first premiered on HBO in 2011, those of us who hadn’t read the books were a bit lost. There were the many families and their mottos, the political machinations involved with getting on the Iron Throne or manipulating whomever was in power. There were also several mythological elements that pointed to a long winter ahead and White Walkers swarming the Seven Kingdoms south of the Wall.

But mostly the pilot episode of the show surprised us, not only with the incestuous relationship between Queen Cersei Lannister (Lena Heady) and her twin brother Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), but the fact that Jaime would stop at nothing to keep their secret relationship safe. Even pushing a little (if nosy) boy off a tower. The things we do for love…

Season 1, Episode 9: “Baelor”

Rewatching this decade-old show with more of a 2022 approach and sensibility you’ll feel how badly Game of Thrones has aged when it comes to the objectification of women and the use of sexual abuse as a plot device. 

But the show also excelled at some genuinely creative storytelling. For one, it had a vast ensemble cast of characters who all served a specific purpose. Even though some of them initially seemed quite separate from the rest (i.e. Khaleesi, played by Emilia Clarke, and the rest of the bunch all the way across the narrow sea), they’d all end up meeting in seasons to come. 

Later in season one, the show managed to stun viewers once again — those who hadn’t read the original George R.R. Martin books, that is — by killing off nonother than the show’s apparent star — and certainly the actor with the most name recognition — Sean Bean’s Ned Stark. Lord Stark fell prey to the court’s political game and lost his head for it. And the show proved how the Game of Thrones is played. 

Season 2, Episode 10: “Valar Morghulis”

game of thrones ghost dog

In the finale of Game of Thrones ’ second season a lot of things came to fruition. Tyrion Lannister’s (Peter Dinklage) bravery kept King’s Landing safe against Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane). No one recognized that though, except for spy-master Varys (Conleth Hill). Tyrion also learns that his sister Cersei tried to have him killed in battle. 

Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and Jaime continue their pilgrimage to King’s Landing. Arya (Maisie Williams) parts ways with Jaqen H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha) but he gives her an iron coin. If she gives it to any Braavosi and says the words, “Valar Morghulis,” they’ll take her to Braavos and Jaqen will teach her the way of the Faceless Men. 

Osha (Natalia Tena), Hodor (Kristian Nairn) and Rickon (Art Parkinson) and Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) escape from Winterfell after the castle is taken by Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) and the men from the Iron Islands. The younger Starks are told to head to the Wall in search of their stepbrother, Jon Snow (Kit Harington). However, Jon isn’t actually at the Wall, but very much north of it and very much conniving with the Wildlings — the Free Folk who live beyond the Wall — and learning how much of a threat the White Walkers really pose. 

Khaleesi, a.k.a. Daenerys Targaryen, finds herself in momentary trouble at the House of the Undying; she and her dragons are chained up. Fortunately, the little ones are stronger than they look. When Khaleesi commands them with the word “Dracarys,” they’re all freed by the dragons’ fire. 

But probably the act in this episode with the more rippling consequences is Rob Stark’s (Richard Madden) wedding to Talisa Maegyr (Oona Chaplin), which sees him breaking the promise he made to Walder Frey (David Bradley) to marry Frey’s daughter. 

Season 3, Episode 9: “The Rains of Castamere”

game of thrones ghost dog

After the brutal demise of Ned Stark, viewers of the show should have learned how Game of Thrones always finds creative ways of disposing of Stark family members.

In “The Rains of Castamere,” popularly known as the Red Wedding, Robb, Talisa and Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) are all brutally murdered at Frey’s place after being betrayed by Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton). Rob not marrying Frey’s daughter really was taken as a great offense and had tragic consequences.

Season 3, Episode 10: “Mysha”

game of thrones ghost dog

Season three’s finale proved once again how much of a natural leader Daenerys Targaryen is — plus it solidified her role as a liberator. When she frees the enslaved Yunkish people, the crowd receives her as “Mysha,” which means mother, and lift her into their arms. Her dragon Drogon watches from above, flying. 

Season 4, Episode 2: “The Lion and the Rose”

game of thrones ghost dog

On the list of Game of Thrones ’ most disliked characters, Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) is probably high up there with the likes of Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) and Walder Frey. So when the child-King meets his demise in quite the brutal way during his wedding to Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer), some of us may have actually clapped. 

Season 4, Episode 8: “The Mountain and the Viper”

game of thrones ghost dog

By now we really should have been used to fan-favorite characters finding their end in the most brutal ways. Yet “The Mountain and the Viper” got some of us non-readers yet again. After a stellar fourth season in which Pedro Pascal and Indira Varma get introduced as the very sexy and hedonistic Oberyn Martell and Ellaria Sand, it was difficult to foresee that the Game of Thrones writers would actually kill off the beloved Oberyn.

Yet they did, and in the most gruesome way imaginable. Oberyn dies in a duel against Gregor Clegane (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson) to decide the fate of Tyrion. At the end of the episode and as a result of the trial by combat, Tyrion is sentenced to death by his father Tywin (Charles Dance). Only we know that, by the end of season four, the smartest of the Lannisters will get revenge on his cruel dad. 

Season 5, Episode 9: “The Dance of Dragons”

game of thrones ghost dog

The show’s second-to-last episode of season five sees Stannis Baratheon giving way, once again, to superstition and allowing the Red Witch Melisandre (Carice van Houten) to persuade him to sacrifice his daughter Shireen (Kerry Ingram) as a last resort so that he can fulfill his ambition of taking the Iron Throne.

The episode also brings the viewer some uplifting moments. Khaleesi flyes on Drogon for the first time when the dragon saves her from an assassination attempt by the Sons of the Harpy. 

Season 5, Episode 10: “Mother’s Mercy”

game of thrones ghost dog

The finale for season five is once again a myriad of momentous events for several of our favorite characters. Theon Greyjoy and Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) escape the monstrous Ramsay. Arya Stark keeps getting rid of names on her list and kills Meryn Trant (Ian Beattie). But, as a result, she’s blinded since she stole from the Many-Faced God. 

Jaime Lannister follows Cersei’s orders and retrieves their daughter Myrcella (Aimee Richardson) from Dorne. He tells the princess that he’s her father, and they share a tender moment before the young Myrcella dies, poisoned by Ellaria Sand. Samwell Tarly (John Bradley), a fellow Night Watch trainee of Jon Snow’s from the Wall, asks permission to study at the Citadel in Oldtown as he’s interested in everything there is to know about the White Walkers.

Ready to become an ally to Daenerys Targaryen, Varys joins Tyrion, Khaleesi’s ever-loyal Jorah Mormont (Iai Glen), Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson), Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Daario Naharis (Michiel Huisman) in Meereen. Daenerys is still lost though — she disappeared thanks to a flying Drogon. They land far from Meereen and are soon surrounded by menacing Dothraki.

Cersei is forced by Septa Unella (an almost unrecognizable Hannah Waddingham) and the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce) to walk the streets of King’s Landing naked while people throw stuff at her and chant: “Shame”.

And in a somewhat unexpected turn of events, yet another Stark finds his demise: Jon Snow is stabbed by his Night’s Watch brothers. They consider him a traitor for trying to join forces with the Wildlings against the White Walkers. 

Season 6, Episode 2: “Home”

game of thrones ghost dog

A lot of things happen in this second chapter of season six. Bran is trained by the Three-Eyed Raven. Cersei mourns the death of her daughter and plots revenge. Arya seems to surrender to her brutal training, conceding that “A girl has no name.” Tyrion meets a dragon for the first time. Ramsay kills his father, his father’s wife and their newborn, making sure he’s the heir to House Bolton and the North. And Theon’s father, Balon Greyjoy (Patrick Malahide), gets killed by his brother Euron (Pilou Asbæk). Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan) swears to avenge her father.

But mostly this is the episode where Melisandre manages to bring Jon Snow back from the dead. 

Season 6, Episode 10: “The Winds of Winter”

game of thrones ghost dog

The finale of the sixth season sees Cersei pouring a glass of red wine while watching from the window of the Red Keep: She organized the explosion of the Sept. The High Sparrow, Margaery Tyrell and many others die as a result. Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman), Cersei’s only remaining child, jumps out of a window because of Margaery’s death. Cersei is crowned Queen.

All the way across the narrow sea another queen, Khaleesi, names Tyrion her Hand. And she readies herself to sail for Westeros with her army and dragons. 

Season 7, Episode 7: “The Dragon and the Wolf”

game of thrones ghost dog

The finale of season seven packed in a lot of reveals, in true GoT fashion. Cersei and Daenerys’ allies all meet at the Targaryen dragonpits. Danny’s party wants to press the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms about the real threat posed by the White Walkers — something they can all theoretically form a united front on. Persuaded by her brother Tyrion, Cersei promises to send her troops north, but she’s of course lying. She might also be pregnant. But the lie about helping the north causes Jaime to finally desert his twin sister. 

Back in Winterfell, skilled manipulator Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) tries playing his Machiavellian games, hoping to turn Sansa against her sister Arya. But the older of the Starks has realized Littlefinger can’t be trusted. She accuses him of killing Lysa Arryn (Kate Dickie), his former wife and Sansa and Arya’s aunt, as well as of conspiring to kill Jon Arryn and betraying Ned Stark. In the end, Arya kills Littlefinger. 

Sam arrives at Winterfell where he meets Bran Stark, who’s now the Three-Eyed Raven — a seer who once lived beyond the Wall. Between the two of them, they realize who Jon Snow really is: the lawful son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, and the true heir to the Iron Throne. Meanwhile, completely unaware of that information, Daenerys and Jon — who is indeed Khaleesi’s nephew — make love. 

The White Walkers keep riding south. They destroy the Wall with the help of the dragon Viserion who’s also an undead creature now.

Season 8, Episode 5: “The Bells”

game of thrones ghost dog

In a way you could stop with the reminiscing about — and even the rewatch of — Game of Thrones in season seven. I feel the controversial season eight didn’t satisfy many viewers. And things only got worse with every new episode of the show’s final season. 

Things started to get a bit baffling with episode three, titled “The Long Night”. The one-hour and 36-minutes episode involved a brutal nocturnal fight to defend Winterfell. But you probably know it better as the really dark episode in which you were convinced your TV was broken. It’s also the episode where Arya kills the Night King, the leader of the White Walkers, and, with his death, his whole undead army too. 

And you know episode five, “The Bells”, better as the one where Daenarys totally loses it and torches down King’s Landing — and its inhabitants — even though the bells are signaling the city’s surrender. Cersei and Jaime die unsatisfyingly in this one. 

Season 8, Episode 6: “The Iron Throne”

game of thrones ghost dog

The show’s finale sees Bran Stark becoming King Bran the Broken of the Six Kingdoms — but only after Jon kills Daenerys, fearing the Dragon Queen had already turned into the Mad Queen. (We’re told early on that it runs in her family .) Tyrion serves as Bran’s Hand. Sansa is crowned Queen of the North and her kingdom remains independent. 

As punishment for killing the former Queen, Jon is sent to the Night’s Watch yet again, but we see him going out beyond the Wall and guiding the Wildlings home. We’ll see more of that adventure in the already-confirmed GoT sequel centering on Harington’s character. Arya Stark sets sail for whatever is west of Westeros. She’d be a great addition to the Jon Snow sequel in any case.

But, for the time being, we’ll have to be content with whatever political plotting and family drama House of the Dragon has in store for us. 


game of thrones ghost dog

Wiki of Westeros

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Ghost is one of six direwolf pups that are found by the children of House Stark . He is adopted and raised by Jon Snow . Ghost is an albino with white fur and red eyes. Though he was the runt of the litter when he was born, he quickly grew to be as big as the rest of his siblings. Of their litter, only Ghost and Nymeria remain alive.

  • 1.1 Game of Thrones : Season 1
  • 1.2 Game of Thrones : Season 2
  • 1.3 Game of Thrones : Season 3
  • 1.4 Game of Thrones : Season 4
  • 1.5 Game of Thrones : Season 5
  • 1.6 Game of Thrones : Season 6
  • 1.7 Game of Thrones : Season 7
  • 1.8 Game of Thrones : Season 8
  • 3 In the books
  • 5 Appearances
  • 7 External links

Biography [ ]

Game of thrones : season 1 [ ].

Screen Shot 2013-06-16 at 12.18

Jon Snow finds Ghost as a pup.

When a litter of five direwolf puppies are found by the Starks , Jon convinces his father Eddard Stark to spare the pups. He urges his father to allow his siblings to adopt them, stating that there are five pups for the five trueborn Stark children and the direwolf is the sigil of the Stark house. Shortly after, Jon finds a sixth direwolf pup - an albino wolf. Theon Greyjoy mockingly calls the pup "the runt of the litter" and says this pup belongs to Jon. Jon and the other Stark children adopt the direwolf pups. Jon names his direwolf Ghost. [1]

Jon takes Ghost with him to Castle Black when he joins the Night's Watch . Ghost helps him to threaten Rast in the middle of the night, to prevent him from bullying Sam . Jon warns Rast that “no one touches Sam” while Ghost stands over Rast, snarling. [2]

While Jon and Sam say their oath of fealty to the Night's Watch in front of a heart tree north of the Wall , just inside the eaves of the Haunted Forest , Ghost finds the corpses of two rangers , Othor and Jafer Flowers , and brings one of their severed hands back to Jon and a horrified Sam. [3]


Ghost snarls at Rast.

When Jon is confined to quarters for threatening Ser Alliser Thorne , Ghost begins to whine at the door in the middle of the night. Jon understands something is wrong and follows the wolf to the Lord Commander's quarters. Suddenly the door shuts and Ghost is locked outside the room. Jon encounters the undead Othor, risen as a wight , and saves the life of the Lord Commander . [4]

When Jon nearly deserts to join Robb in his war against the Lannisters , Ghost leaves with him. However, they both return to Castle Black. [5]

Game of Thrones : Season 2 [ ]

Ghost on a hill

Ghost at the Fist of the First Men with the Night's Watch.

Ghost follows his master and the rest of the Night's Watch as they venture deep into wildling territory in their great ranging . While the Night's Watchmen stay at Craster's Keep to rest and inform themselves about Mance Rayder, one of Craster's daughters, Gilly , is frightened by Ghost when he approaches her, attracted by a dead rabbit she's holding. Sam, who had already taken notice of her, comes to her aid, and attempts to shoo Ghost away. Although he flicks Sam a baleful look, he obeys and slinks off. [6]


Ghost accompanies Jon north.

Along with the black brothers, Ghost climbs the Fist of the First Men . [7] Later, when Jon asks to join Qhorin 's raiders, Ghost follows, but as they travel, the direwolf separates from the group and ultimately disappears, despite Jon's calls for Ghost to stay with them. [8]

Game of Thrones : Season 3 [ ]

Ghost Attacks a Wite

Ghost saves Sam's life.

Following the fight at the Fist , Ghost saves Sam from a wight, giving Jeor Mormont the chance to destroy the wight with fire. [9]

Ghost later accompanies the Night's Watch survivors to Craster's Keep but refuses to enter this time. Instead, he ventures back into the Haunted Forest. [10]

When Sam stumbles across Bran , Jojen Reed , Meera Reed , and Hodor , Sam recognizes Bran due to the presence of Bran's direwolf Summer , having spent enough time with Ghost to be able to recognize a direwolf. [11]

Game of Thrones : Season 4 [ ]

S04E5 - Jon Snow & Ghost

Ghost reunites with his master Jon after being freed by Bran.

Ghost has been captured and caged by the Mutineers . One night, Karl Tanner orders Rast to feed Ghost, which he refers to as "the beast". Rast taunts Ghost by pouring water in front of the cage. Later, Ghost is briefly reunited with Summer for the first time since leaving Winterfell, when his cries summon the other direwolf to his cage, but Summer falls into a trap. [12] After escaping Craster's Keep , Bran and his companions release Ghost and Summer. Ghost remains nearby and kills Rast when he flees the massacre of his fellow mutineers. Afterward, Ghost reunites with Jon after being apart for more than a year. [13]

Ghost kills Thenn

Ghost kills a Thenn warrior.

They arrive together at Castle Black, yet Alliser Thorne orders Jon to lock him away. [14] During the battle for the Wall , Jon has Sam release Ghost so that he can help kill the wildlings raiding the castle. Immediately, Ghost lunges at a Thenn warrior and tears out his throat. He ultimately survives the battle. [15]

Game of Thrones : Season 5 [ ]

Ghost 5x01

Ghost nibbles on a bone.

Ghost remains in Castle Black, having grown considerably. While Jon trains Olly , Ghost chews on a large bone. [16]

Ghost 5x07

Ghost protects Sam and Gilly from Night's Watch bullies.

After Jon departs for Hardhome and Maester Aemon passes away, Thorne cryptically warns Sam that he is losing all of his friends, presumably prompting him to free Ghost until Jon returns. [17]

Two former criminals in the Night's Watch attempt to rape Gilly and Sam comes to her defense; they beat him, but Ghost arrives to defend him, snarling at them; unwilling to take their chances against the angry direwolf, they flee. [17]

Game of Thrones : Season 6 [ ]

After Jon is assassinated by several of his black brothers, Ghost howls in mourning from his pen nearby. His cries summon Davos , Eddison Tollett , and a handful of other black brothers who quickly move Jon's body. At Davos's suggestion, Edd frees Ghost so that he can help them protect Jon's body. On their way back to Jon's quarters, Edd and Ghost are accosted by Thorne and the mutineers. Ghost snarls at Thorne, aware of his role in Jon's murder. Unnerved, Thorne suggests that they release Ghost beyond the Wall, but Edd refuses and leads Ghost to Jon's chamber, where he sniffs Jon's body mournfully. When the mutineers offer the loyalists peace terms through the locked door, Ghost growls. [18]


Ghost sleeps near Jon's body.

At nightfall, the mutineers attempt to break their way into Jon's chambers to kill Davos and the loyalists. Ghost stands beside the loyalists, ready to fight to the death. Edd and the wildlings arrive in time to save Ghost and the loyalists and place the mutineers in custody. Later, Ghost remains close to Jon when Melisandre seemingly fails to resurrect him, and sleeps beside Jon's body. Once everyone has left, Ghost is roused from sleep by something and is the first to witness Jon come back to life. [19] Ghost then watches Jon intently as he gets up. [20]

Ghost leaves Castle Black with Jon as he travels with Davos Seaworth, Melisandre, Tormund, Sansa , Brienne and Pod as they prepare to rally the North against Ramsay Bolton . [21] Following Jon and Sansa's victory after the Battle of the Bastards , Ghost returns to Winterfell with his master. [22]

Game of Thrones : Season 7 [ ]

Ghost remains at Winterfell with Sansa when Jon leaves to meet Daenerys at Dragonstone . [23]

Game of Thrones : Season 8 [ ]

Wolf Charge S8 Ep3

Ghost charges alongside the Dothraki.

Shortly before the Battle of Winterfell , Ghost stands on the battlements with Jon, Edd, and Sam. [24] He is later seen alongside the strike team on the battlefield beside Jorah Mormont , as they charge the first wave of wights but is not seen for the rest of the battle. Ghost survives the battle, which ends when Arya Stark kills the Night King , defeating the army of the dead. [25]

Ghost is present among the surviving allies in the aftermath of the battle and witnesses the bonfire funeral of the fallen men and women. He is shown to have lost most of his right ear as well as sustaining cuts in the battle. [26]

Tormund & Ghost S8 Ep4

Ghost watches as Jon departs Winterfell.

Later, as Jon is preparing to march south with the Northern forces and Daenerys's army to defeat Cersei and take the Iron Throne for Daenerys , he suggests to Tormund (who is making his way back to Castle Black with the remaining free folk) that he take Ghost with him. Jon believes Ghost belongs in the true north. Ghost exchanges one last glance with Jon before watching his old master depart. [26]


Ghost reunites with Jon at Castle Black.

Ghost is reunited with Jon, when the latter is exiled to the Night's Watch for Daenerys's assassination after she razes a surrendered King's Landing . Jon and Ghost accompany Tormund and the wildlings on the return to the lands beyond the Wall . [27]

In the books [ ]

Roman Papsuev - Jon Snow

Jon Snow by Roman "Amok" Papsuev.©

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Ghost is the quietest and stealthiest of the six direwolf pups. While the other wolves are darker-colored, Ghost is an albino and silent. Jon Snow's younger brother Bran Stark notices that Ghost has already opened his eyes while the other pups' eyes remain closed. Ghost's like-but-unlike nature appeals to Jon as a kindred spirit and he shares Jon's thoughtful, observant, and quiet nature. Also shared is that Jon and Ghost are both part of their respective families, but a bit apart from their siblings at the same time as Jon is an illegitimate child while Ghost is a silent, albino wolf. [28] Ghost's appearance is said to resemble that of the faces found on heart trees in the North .

Jon finds Ghost separated from his siblings. Ghost also matured faster than the others: he was the first to open his eyes and walk on his own, and was attempting to find shelter away from their mother's corpse. Like in the TV series, Jon also convinces his father to spare the pups for his trueborn siblings and later finds the sixth pup shortly afterward. However, unlike in the TV series, Theon suggests they leave the pup to die, which Jon emphatically refuses and Jon himself claims Ghost as his own.

In the books, it is emphasized that Ghost is unnaturally silent: Jon tells Tyrion that he named him "Ghost" partially because of his albino coloring, but also because of how little noise he makes. In the books, Ghost is completely mute, utterly silent making no sound of any kind. This wasn't found to translate well to the screen, so Ghost makes noises like growling at Rast in his bunk or whining at Gilly holding rabbits.

Ghost accompanies Jon when he goes to Castle Black with his uncle Benjen Stark and helps Jon defend Sam from being harmed in training. When Jon joins Qhorin's scouting group, Ghost comes along. When Jon is forced to kill Qhorin as part of Qhorin's plan for Jon to infiltrate Mance Rayder 's host, Ghost helps Jon defeat Qhorin. Before going with the wildlings to scale the Wall, Jon orders Ghost to leave and attempt to return to Castle Black. Ghost departs into the forest, and Jon hopes he understood his command. Many weeks later, several days after the battle for the Wall is over, Ghost returns to the Wall, where Jon and Ghost are overjoyed to be reunited.

In the TV series, Ghost initially shadows Qhorin's scouting group, but he does not appear again after Jon is captured. Apparently, on his own initiative, Ghost made his way back to the Fist of the First Men, the Watch's main base camp, but it had come under attack by the White Walkers. Ghost is later seen with the survivors when he helps Jeor Mormont kill a wight that was attacking Sam. Ghost apparently then tried to return to Castle Black alongside them, but when they reach Craster's Keep, Ghost senses the coming danger, and retreats back into the Haunted Forest. In the TV show, the mutineers at Craster's Keep capture him, but when Jon leads a scouting force back to Craster's Keep to finish off the traitors, Ghost is reunited with Jon and brought back to Castle Black. Afterward, he is let loose during the wildling attack on the fortress to aid the Watch's defense, and is seen to be by Jon's side at Castle Black in Season 5 - putting him back in sync with his book location.

In the books, Melisandre warns Jon of " daggers in the dark " and advises him to keep Ghost near him all the time. However, Jon does not listen to Melisandre, since one of her visions about "a girl in grey on a dying horse" (whom Melisandre believed to be Arya , but turned to be Alys Karstark ) proves to be wrong; this turns to be a fatal mistake for Jon.

In his last breath, Jon whispers "Ghost" - similar to Robb , whose last words were " Grey Wind ". It is unknown if there is a connection between these instances. There is a fan speculation that Robb and Jon, in their last breath, managed to warg into their respective direwolves. It did not do any good for Robb, since Grey Wind was killed shortly after him; it is not the case with Jon, whose direwolf was not around when he was stabbed - he might have survived.

Gallery [ ]

Photoshoot of Kit Harington as Jon Snow and a digitally enlarged wolf as Ghost.

Appearances [ ]


References [ ]

  • ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 1 , Episode 1: " Winter Is Coming "
  • ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 1 , Episode 4: " Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things "
  • ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 1 , Episode 7: " You Win or You Die "
  • ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 1 , Episode 8: " The Pointy End "
  • ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 1 , Episode 10: " Fire and Blood "
  • ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 2 , Episode 2: " The Night Lands "
  • ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 2 , Episode 5: " The Ghost of Harrenhal "
  • ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 2 , Episode 6: " The Old Gods and the New "
  • ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 3 , Episode 1: " Valar Dohaeris "
  • ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 3 , Episode 3: " Walk of Punishment "
  • ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 3 , Episode 10: " Mhysa "
  • ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 4 , Episode 4: " Oathkeeper "
  • ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 4 , Episode 5: " First of His Name "
  • ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 4 , Episode 7: " Mockingbird "
  • ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 4 , Episode 9: " The Watchers on the Wall "
  • ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 5 , Episode 1: " The Wars To Come "
  • ↑ 17.0 17.1 Game of Thrones : Season 5 , Episode 7: " The Gift "
  • ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 6 , Episode 1: " The Red Woman "
  • ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 6 , Episode 2: " Home "
  • ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 6 , Episode 3: " Oathbreaker "
  • ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 6 , Episode 5: " The Door "
  • ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 6 , Episode 10: " The Winds of Winter "
  • ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 7 , Episode 2: " Stormborn "
  • ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 8 , Episode 2: " A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms "
  • ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 8 , Episode 3: " The Long Night "
  • ↑ 26.0 26.1 Game of Thrones : Season 8 , Episode 4: " The Last of the Starks "
  • ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 8 , Episode 6: " The Iron Throne "
  • ↑ Shaw, Robert (2003). "Interview With a Dragon". Fountainhead Quarterly.
  • ↑ In " You Win or You Die ," Jorah Mormont receives a pardon stating that the current year is 298.
  • ↑ In " Winter Is Coming ," which takes place in 298 AC, Sansa Stark tells Cersei Lannister that she is 13 years old and Bran Stark tells Jaime Lannister that he is 10 years old. Arya Stark was born between Sansa and Bran, making her either 11 or 12 in Season 1. The rest of the Stark children have been aged up by 2 years from their book ages, so it can be assumed that she is 11 in Season 1. Arya is 18 in Season 8 according to HBO , which means at least 7 years occur in the span of the series; therefore, each season of Game of Thrones must roughly correspond to a year in-universe, placing the events of Season 8 in 305 AC.

External links [ ]

A Wiki of Ice and Fire favicon

  • 2 Daenerys Targaryen
  • 3 Rhaegar Targaryen

Alberta wolf that plays Ghost on Game of Thrones still alive despite rumours

George r.r. martin inadvertently created confusion after tweeting about the death of a rescue wolf named ghost.

game of thrones ghost dog

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Game of Thrones fans were duped this week after the brain behind the popular franchise — which went from novels to HBO — tweeted that the real life Ghost died. 

George R.R. Martin went on to say the wolf lived at the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary, which is located in Iowa.

In loving memory of the real life Ghost from the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary. He passed this week &amp; he will be missed. R.I.P <a href="https://t.co/FHGRpagEiC">pic.twitter.com/FHGRpagEiC</a> &mdash; @GRRMspeaking

But as many proud Albertans know, the actual wolf that plays Jon Snow's direwolf in the popular television series lives in this province and is trained just south of Red Deer.

Arctic wolf Quigly  is trained by Andrew Simpson, the owner and operator of Instinct Animals For Film.

Martin later took to Twitter to clarify his mistake, saying the Ghost he was referring to was a rescue that was in a pack named after Game of Thrones characters.

Clarification, this was the wolf rescued by Wild Spirt and dubbed Ghost. NOT the wolf who plays Ghost on the show. <a href="https://t.co/SesDFCWBjc">https://t.co/SesDFCWBjc</a> &mdash; @GRRMspeaking

But it seems many fans are already in mourning as the rumour persisted online Thursday.

Sigh .... Jon Snow's wolf Ghost died 😭 &mdash; @sashyuhbig
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GameofThrones?src=hash">#GameofThrones</a> Rest In Peace Ghost Actor Wolf &mdash; @NarysZhala
the wolf who played Ghost in GoT died 😢💔 &mdash; @beyacabrera

It comes as fans gear up for Season 7 this July. Game of Thrones was also a hot topic in the Calgary area earlier this year after  Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark , was seen around the city and Banff as she reportedly filmed scenes for this season.

It was widely rumoured that she was here to film scenes with the wolves from Instinct Animals For Film after the Alberta company shared a photo to Instagram of two of its wolves, saying they were "ready to work."

'The Great War is here': Game of Thrones season 7 trailer debuts

The shorter, seven-episode season is scheduled to begin on HBO July 16. The eighth and final season is currently scheduled to air in 2018.

Meanwhile, HBO and author George R. R. Martin, whose  A Song of Ice and Fire  novels formed the basis of the show, have been working on ideas for  multiple spin-off series  to pursue once Game of Thrones  finishes for good.

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This Is What Ghost's Stand-In on Game of Thrones Looked Like and I Need a Minute

How could they do this to our good boy?

Headshot of Erica Gonzales

WARNING: Possible Game of Thrones Season 8 spoilers ahead.

The documentary Game of Thrones: The Last Watch , which aired last Sunday, unveiled a number of behind-the-scenes secrets from the hit show's final season, some of which we were expecting, and others which downright surprised us.


What. In. Seven. Hells.

As a friendly reminder, this is what Ghost looks like post-CGI.

Canidae, Dog, Carnivore, Canis, Tradition, Night, Wolf, Crowd,

And this is what his stuffed stand-in looks like.

Vertebrate, Mammal, Dog, Canidae, West highland white terrier, Dog breed, Carnivore, Terrier, Sealyham terrier,

BuzzFeed pointed out the seconds-long scene after the documentary aired. Viewers had a lot of feelings about the cameo, both speaking out in shock and declaring that he deserved a better stand-in.

Fans have been especially protective of Ghost as the show made its final bow this year. In the first few episodes of the season, viewers were unsettled by the direwolf's absence. After the Battle of Winterfell, they worried for his survival. And when Jon Snow sends Ghost north with Tormund, fans were livid that he didn't even pet his dog goodbye . (Thankfully, they reunite in the finale).

"Since the direwolves are kind of CG creations, we felt it best to keep it as simple as possible," director David Nutter said of Jon and Ghost's controversial goodbye. The complexities of the CGI process may also be the reason why Ghost had such few cameos in Season 8 to begin with. (It seems most of the special effects focus went to the dragon scenes.)

Given Ghost's lacking screen time, fans wanted whats best for the beloved direwolf, from the well-deserved pats to his stand-in.

Game of Thrones: The Last Watch is now available to stream on HBO Go and HBO Now.

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Why Game of Thrones fans are outraged over the show’s treatment of Ghost

Jon’s treatment of his loyal direwolf on season 8, episode 4, may be symbolic, but it won him no fans.

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Ghost the direwolf in “Game of Thrones.”

Game of Thrones ’ eighth and final season has contained plenty of heartbreaking moments and unexpected plot developments. But one choice made by Jon Snow in episode four, “The Last of the Starks,” left fans on social media particularly saddened — and questioning what that choice might mean for the show’s final two episodes.

It’s no secret that Jon has been struggling to process the news that his father and mother were Lyanna Stark (Ned Stark’s sister) and Rhaegar Targaryen (Daenerys’s older brother) — meaning he’s not a bastard at all, but a legitimate Targaryen heir to the iron throne.

And in “The Last of the Starks,” his secret seemed to put him in even sharper conflict with himself and his family — even though he’s still half-Stark, just as he was before.

Jon chose to give up his beloved family pet — causing many fans to question his characterization

One of the most surprising moments of the episode came when Jon, apparently still grappling with the duties that accompany his allegiance to Daenerys, abruptly gave his faithful direwolf, Ghost, to Tormund, who was heading north to try to rebuild the Night’s Watch. “A direwolf has no place in the South,” he told Tormund — though it’s unclear whether he was casting his own destination of King’s Landing as “the South” or whether he was agreeing with Tormund, who’d just described Winterfell itself as “the South,” from his much more northern perspective. (Direwolves are rarely found as far south in Westeros as Winterfell, which makes the choice of House Stark to use direwolves as its family sigil feel very significant — a way of suggesting that the animals have an unnatural, perhaps even magical, connection to the house.)

If Jon was referring to King’s Landing, then it seems possible that he was attempting to ensure Ghost’s permanent safety, far away from the coming battle with Cersei Lannister. But if he meant that direwolves have no place in Winterfell, where each of the Stark children raised their direwolf pups, the moment feels much sadder and more symbolic.

“The Last of the Starks” seemed to depict Jon as a man trying to distance himself in as many ways as possible from his long-held ties to the Stark clan. And indeed, the scene hardly read as an unfortunate sacrifice that Jon was upset to have to make; to many fans, it instead came off as an inexplicably cold exile of a loyal companion.

Ghost has remained by Jon’s side through thick and thin, since Game of Thrones ’ very first episode, when each Stark sibling was gifted with a direwolf pup. In season six, Ghost notably slept beside Jon’s body before Melisandre brought Jon back to life. And though we haven’t seen much of him onscreen, he seems to have been faithfully guarding Winterfell through most of the last two seasons. Most recently, he apparently lost an ear during the Battle of Winterfell after charging into the fight alongside Ser Jorah and the Dothraki warriors.

Jon’s abrupt decision to give Ghost away, then, struck many fans as disloyal and ungrateful. But even more painful were the particulars of his departure. Though Jon bid a sad farewell to Tormund and his best friend Sam, when the time came to say goodbye to Ghost, Jon simply turned and walked away — leaving his old companion looking genuinely broken-hearted:

Jon: *hugs Tormund* *hugs Sam* *even hugs Gilly who he doesn’t know very well* Ghost: Am I a joke to you? #GameOfThrones pic.twitter.com/7myloMa0tr — Fardeen (@Fardeen_02) May 6, 2019

Many Game of Thrones fans were distraught; others were outraged by what seemed to be Jon’s abrupt callousness. On social media, Ghost quickly became the subject of an outpouring of anger:

I might be madder about Ghost than literally anything else YOU DO NOT ABANDON YOUR CGI DOGGO EVER #GameofThrones — Melissa Anelli (@melissaanelli) May 6, 2019
YOU SHOULD NEVER MAKE AN ANIMAL LOOK LIKE THIS EVER. EVER pic.twitter.com/qaxrpUa7wz — Melissa Anelli (@melissaanelli) May 6, 2019

One notable response came from a saddened Meredith Salenger, who played Natty Gann in the 1985 children’s classic The Journey of Natty Gann . On Twitter, Salenger reminded people of Natty’s tear-jerking, hug-filled farewell to her own beloved companion, Wolf:

This is the proper way to say goodbye to your faithful wolf! #YouKnowNothingJonSnow pic.twitter.com/o9jB5v8Ps3 — Meredith Salenger (@MeredthSalenger) May 6, 2019

Even if Jon is symbolically turning away from the Starks and toward the Targaryens, his treatment of Ghost sucks

Plenty of fans criticized Game of Thrones for having Jon make such an out-of-character decision, particularly given that his loyalty to his family has always been one of his most emphasized character traits. While many fans grasped that maybe he was trying to show new loyalty to Dany and the Targaryens, they weren’t buying it.

And, again, he’s still a Stark !

Yeah. That whole Ghost/Jon was shite. Just tossing him to the wildlings with no proper goodbye. You really have denounced your Stark origins for this Aegon Targaryen shit. Yet, you don’t want the throne — Wonje (NRM) ‍♀️ (@Wonje32) May 6, 2019
GOT S8E4 SPOILERS The fact they had Jon leave Ghost behind to signify he was no longer a Stark is such bs. his mother was lyanna stark and he was raised with the stark family. suddenly finding out he was half targaryen doesn’t erase his roots. — gio aarvatar the last archmage (@diokeeper) May 6, 2019

Others felt Jon had betrayed a friend for dubious reasons, like the chance to shag his aunt and ride her only remaining dragon:

Give me ghost over a dragon any day #GameOfThrones pic.twitter.com/8PTtCXKQ5S — Robb Stark (@KingRobbStarkk) May 6, 2019

Amid all the anger at Jon, lots of people paid tribute to Ghost, who is unquestionably a very good doggo:

RT to pet the goodest boi #GameofThrones pic.twitter.com/dDO2muM3yb — 9GAG (@9GAG) May 6, 2019
All Hail Ghost, of House Stark, First of his name, King of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms, Son of Jon, The Khal of the Great Ice Sea, The One-Eared, Breaker of HEARTS #GameofThrones pic.twitter.com/DqjkZVgH6r — Beth Moore (@BethMoo05271000) May 6, 2019
Ned Stark: "You will train them yourselves, you will feed them yourselves, and if they die, you will bury them yourselves." Not give them away after they risked their lives protecting you over, and over, and over again. Ghost deserved better. #GameOfThrones pic.twitter.com/ws1DY4ve2t — Dogs BaseBall & Tattoos (@KennyPowersYank) May 6, 2019

And in the wake of Euron Greyjoy killing Rhaegal, one of Dany’s two remaining dragons , at least some fans were left wishing for a hard reset — and a chance to give the animals their due:

How all #GameOfThrones fans want the show to end pic.twitter.com/deiiH6HdUx — GoT Things (@GoTthings_) May 6, 2019

With only two episodes to go in Game of Thrones ’ run, fans are bracing for more drama either way. And there’s still potential for more moments involving the show’s animal companions. We can’t say for sure whether we’ll see Ghost again, of course, but Arya’s wolf Nymeria is presumably still hanging around Westeros somewhere. Maybe it’s time for Nymeria and Arya to meet up again and assuage Jon’s cruel goodbye with a joyous reunion.

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Games of Thrones season 8

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Game of Thrones’ Direwolves: Facts and Fantasy

  • Written by: Melvin Peña

One of the most wondrous things about Game of Thrones — both George R.R. Martin’s novels and the HBO television series — is that, as a fantasy epic, its world is decidedly unfantastic. More than anything, it’s a drama of cut-throat political scheming, and staying alive is as impressive a feat as anything from the realms of legend. The emergence of fantastic beasts like direwolves and dragons into the gritty, mundane world is greeted, not with wonder, but with suspicion and fear.

“It is known,” as the Dothraki bloodriders might say, that many of the major events depicted in Game of Thrones are inspired by  real incidents from history. Did you know that the direwolf that is the sigil, or the emblem, of House Stark, and later the companion animals of the Stark children, also has a very real antecedent in the natural world? Let’s explore the facts and fictions behind Westeros’s legendary dog breed.

What is a direwolf?

Are direwolves real.

  • What dog breeds portray the direwolves on television?
  • When popularity is a problem: adoption and abandonment

When the series begins, the direwolf is a symbol, historically associated with the iconography of House Stark. Their banners depict a grey wolf running across a white field. These gigantic canids are thought to live beyond the Wall, far north of the Stark compound at Winterfell, and even heard at times by rangers of the Night’s Watch. The Starks discover a dying female direwolf who had given birth to a litter of six direwolf puppies — four grey, one black, and one white — and these are apportioned to each of Ned Stark’s children. The direwolves’ names and owners are:

  • Ghost : the runt of the litter, a white-coated male puppy claimed by Ned’s illegitimate son, Jon Snow.
  • Grey Wind : a grey-coated male puppy given to the eldest son, Robb Stark.
  • Lady : a grey-coated female puppy belonging to the eldest daughter, Sansa Stark.
  • Nymeria : a grey-coated female puppy belonging to the younger daughter, Arya Stark.
  • Shaggydog : a black-coated male puppy belonging to the youngest son, Rickon Stark.
  • Summer : a grey-coated male puppy belonging to the middle son, Bran Stark.

Though the direwolf puppies are small, in the first novel, Bran observes that their mother “was bigger than his pony, twice the size of the largest hound in his father’s kennel.” It gives an indication of the massive physical bulk of these creatures when fully mature. According to the novel, the whelps in this litter are the first living direwolves seen by human eyes in nearly two centuries. Like Daenerys Targaryen’s hatchling dragons, the return of these legendary monsters is both a cause for excitement and deep unease.

These fantastical canids have real-world parallels in the fossil record. Dire wolves were prehistoric megafauna that lived in North and South America before going extinct some 10,000 to 12,000 years ago. The first fossilized remains were discovered in Indiana, of all places, in 1854. The dire wolf ‘s name is a transliteration from the latin “ canis dirus ,” which means “frightening,” “fearsome,” or “dreadful” dog, giving Game of Thrones ‘ direwolves a particularly accurate species name.

The dire wolf lived up to its name; fossil evidence suggests that these were titanic canids, nearly 5 feet long, and weighing up to 240 pounds when fully grown. Not nearly as large as the direwolves of House Stark, but physically imposing beasts to be sure, with a bite estimated to be nearly 130 per cent stronger than modern grey wolves. That power helped them bring down their equally large prey, including horses, mammoths, and giant sloths.

What dog breeds feature in Game of Thrones ?

In the Game of Thrones universe, mature direwolves are huge beasts. On television, the ones we see after the first season are given their titanic bulk through the magic of computer animation and CGI enhancements to actual canids. The first season’s direwolf puppies were portrayed by Northern Inuit Dogs . These are designer dogs first developed in a British breeding program that began in the 1980s.

Northern Inuit Dogs are the result of crosses between Alaskan Malamutes, German Shepherds, and Siberian Huskies, with the result being a domestic dog with a wolf-like appearance, but no actual wolf DNA. Ghost, the now-mature white-coated or albino direwolf who lives with Jon Snow at Castle Black, on the other hand, is not a dog at all. In seasons 5 and 6, Ghost is played by Quigley, a proper Arctic Wolf , whose scenes are shot on location in Canada.

The problem of popular celebrity dogs

The most noteworthy of the Northern Inuit Dogs to play direwolf puppies on the television show is Zunni, who played Sansa Stark’s direwolf Lady. By the time the character was slain in the first season of the show, Sansa actor Sophie Turner had grown so attached to her canine co-star that her family adopted the dog . The majestic beauty of the program’s Northern Inuit Dog actors, coupled with the ferocious loyalty of the direwolves in Game of Thrones has led to a major increase in adoptions of dogs with a lupine appearance.

While Zunni’s adoption is a story with a happy ending, it is only fair to point out the plight of dog breeds that gain this level of global popularity. Since the HBO series began airing in 2011, there has been a disturbing cycle of adoption and abandonment. Each year following  Game of Thrones ‘ debut — 2012 , 2013 , 2014 , and 2015 — the hype machine for a new season is mirrored by yet another round of news reports on the shocking numbers of people impulse adopting and then abandoning breeds that resemble direwolves, ranging from Akitas to Huskies .

Are you a huge fan of Game of Thrones , and interested in finding direwolf puppies for sale or adoption? Ned Stark’s honorable nature in the books and on television clearly extended to his practical outlook on domestic animal care. Hesitant to allow his children to adopt the direwolf whelps, Ned cautions them, “You must train them…the gods help you if you neglect them, or brutalize them, or train them badly.”

Whatever breed of dog catches your eye, it’s well worth keeping in mind that all of these wolf-like breeds are large, physical, active dogs that require attention, affection, and training. For any dog adopted in haste and left to an uncertain future in a shelter or rescue, the night is dark and full of terrors.

  • Tags: Breed Profiles , Breeds , Celebrities , Celebrity Dogs , Culture , Dogs in Art , In the News , Obsessions

Melvin Peña

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'Game of Thrones' director David Nutter reveals a key reason why Jon Snow didn't at least pet Ghost goodbye

  • Warning: Spoilers ahead for HBO's "Game of Thrones."
  • In an interview with INSIDER , the director David Nutter explained Jon Snow's bittersweet goodbye to Ghost, saying that keeping the wolf apart from the actors helped mitigate any "issues" and simplified the production process.
  • This is why Jon didn't go over to Ghost and pet him goodbye, a choice that has been met with backlash .
  • Visit INSIDER.com for more stories .

Insider Today

"Game of Thrones" fans who love the Stark direwolves were dealt yet another blow on Sunday night when Jon Snow said goodbye to Ghost from across the Winterfell courtyard.

According to the director of the episode, Jon didn't have any physical interaction with Ghost, despite Ghost's sad whining at seeing Jon leave, because the production team needed to streamline the filming process.

"Well, the good thing was [Ghost] wasn't right next to the actors and so forth," David Nutter told INSIDER when asked about the challenges of having a CGI wolf in the scene . "So there wasn't any issues with green screen or situations where we're dealing with any kind of rotoscoping."

We asked if this meant that keeping Ghost and Jon separated was part of the plan for simplifying filming, and Nutter responded, "Yes."

Read more : INSIDER's full interview with director David Nutter about 'Game of Thrones' season 8

The abrupt goodbye between Jon and Ghost has led to many fans expressing sadness , given how important the direwolves are to the Stark children in George R.R. Martin's book series.

Why inserting the direwolves on 'Game of Thrones' is so tough

Nutter mentioned both green screens and rotoscoping as elements that could've introduced more "issues" with the scene. This is because the direwolves on "Game of Thrones" are filmed separately and added into scenes digitally.

Rotoscoping is a time-consuming visual-effects process in which people have to go frame by frame to manually edit one element of a scene. Since the second season of "Game of Thrones," the wolves used to play Ghost, Grey Wind, Summer, Nymeria, and Shaggydog were real wolves shot on a Canadian green-screen stage.

The VFX team would then effectively cut and paste (or, to use the technical term, rotoscope) the wolves into the scenes you see on the show. This is part of the reason the characters rarely physically interact with the direwolves; it makes it less complicated to work the wolves into a live-action shot if all they're doing is standing there.

Steve Kullback, the show's VFX producer, once explained another reason the wolves are kept apart from the cast.

"Wolves remain dangerous even after training," Kullback said in an "Inside HBO's Game of Thrones" book. "The reality is, wolves can be trained to do only so much, and that has introduced a challenge in its own right, which the writers sometimes have to work around."

Jon Snow last physically "touched" Ghost on the fourth season, when his direwolf came trotting up after the Night's Watch killed all the rebelling men who took up residence at Craster's Keep.

But Ghost all but vanished from the storyline for the rest of the fourth and fifth seasons. He cropped up again after Jon was assassinated and stood guard beside Jon's body, but again, Ghost didn't physically interact with any characters for those scenes. Then he went back off-screen.

Fans noticed his omission during the Battle of the Bastards. Surely Ghost would've been some help against the Bolton army? The director of that episode, Miguel Sapochnik, told Business Insider at the time that Ghost was originally meant to partake in the battle.

"He was in there in spades originally, but it's also an incredibly time-consuming and expensive character to bring to life," Sapochnik said. "Ultimately we had to choose between Wun Wun and the direwolf, so the dog bit the dust."

Ghost once again had a planned scene for the seventh season, but that was cut as well .

Read more : 'Game of Thrones' writer addresses fans desperate for a scene with Jon Snow's direwolf on season 7

So we arrived at the eighth and final season and were gifted with only a few glimpses of Ghost. He first appeared on episode two, standing in the background behind Jon, Sam, and Edd. Then we watched him charge into battle on episode three. And lastly, there was the courtyard goodbye scene.

Each of the Stark direwolves has a much greater importance to the storyline in Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" book series. And though we know Ghost and Nymeria are still alive in the show's version of events, we don't expect any additional meaningful scenes between the Starks and their special wolves.

Fans will have to settle with knowing that the "Game of Thrones" team's wanting to simplify the production process meant a bittersweet parting of the ways when it came to the direwolves.

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In Loving Memory of Game of Thrones ’ Doomed Direwolf Pack

Portrait of Rebecca Alter

Scenes where nice folks abandon faithful dogs “for their own good” are among the easiest possible emotional buttons to nail. On Game of Thrones , Arya and Nymeria have gotten this right twice. And yet, Sunday night’s episode, “ The Last of the Starks ,” passed up what could have been Jon Snow’s Wendy and Lucy moment in favor of a scene where Jon unceremoniously pawns Ghost off on Tormund before traveling south, explaining that King’s Landing is no place for a direwolf. This may thematically echo Sansa’s earlier statement that Stark men do not fare well in the south, but it’s also disappointing to see Jon not so much as give his Good Boy a hug goodbye or even a pat, especially after fans were so excited to see Ghost reappear after his absence throughout all of season seven.

This is a shame, because Ghost is one of the last surviving members of the pilot’s puppy pile, and the one who managed to stay by his master’s side longer than any of the rest. So in honor of what looks to be our final glimpse of one of this series’s most memorable beasts, here are the incredible journeys of the Stark siblings’ direwolves, away from the north and (for one, anyway) back again.

Jon’s direwolf Ghost is now one of two living members of the original pack. This is all the more impressive because in the show’s first episode, Ghost was the runty albino of the litter that almost got left behind. Ghost accompanied Jon to Castle Black and journeyed alongside him beyond the Wall, and before this year was last seen resting by his master’s dead-then-not-dead body in season six (like Summer did for Bran … who we’ll get to). In season eight, Ghost fought at the Battle of Winterfell and stood alongside the surviving soldiers at the funeral pyre. Despite the recurring motif of direwolves and their owners facing unfortunate fates when they’re separated, Ghost seems to have done all right for himself away from Jon for the whole of season seven, and hopefully will continue to thrive as he ghosts the rest of the series. Maybe Jon’s explanation that the south is no place for a direwolf suggests something about how Jon now feels more Targaryen than Stark as he leaves Winterfell for King’s Landing under Dany’s banner … or maybe direwolves are just too expensive to animate when there are dragons to attend to.

While season seven was conspicuously lacking in Ghost appearances, it wasn’t entirely devoid of direwolves. In the season’s second episode, “Stormborn,” audiences finally learned what happened to Nymeria after Arya forced her to escape into the woods to save her from Cersei “Kill Shelter” Lannister way back in season one. The pup has since grown into a fearsome, wild creature, and has become the alpha of a pack of very aggro wolves, which by Westerosi standards is absolutely a feminist win. When she encounters Nymeria on her way back to Winterfell, Arya recognizes the direwolf and asks it to come with her back to their shared birthplace. But much like how Arya is no longer the girl she once was, tragedy has similarly set Nymeria on a different life path. So Nymeria turns away from her former companion … but not before calling off the wolf pack that wants to rip Arya to shreds, which, again, by Westerosi standards is women supporting women!

Summer was a very good boy to the last, accompanying his master as companion and protector from the bedside where Bran lay in a coma at the beginning of the series to the Three-Eyed Raven’s home beyond the Wall. He also was Bran, sort of, as Bran honed his abilities by warging into Summer. Alas, the Very Good Boy indeed sacrificed himself to protect Meera and hold off the wights attacking the cave of the Three-Eyed Raven in season six’s “The Door.” Fingers crossed that this isn’t foreshadowing for what happens to Ghost in the upcoming Battle of Winterfell. It would be Hedwig and Harry all over again.

Real talk: It makes more sense that Shaggydog is called “Shaggydog” in the books, where Rickon is something like 2 or 3 years old and more or less preverbal. It’s a cute name, but coming from a grade-school-aged character in the series, it raised concerns about Rickon’s acuity and chances for survival in the game of thrones.

But we are not here to shade a dead dog, and poor Shaggy had a rough lot accompanying the late baby Stark in his escape from Winterfell, fighting alongside Summer to protect Bran and Rickon from Wildlings along the way. Soon after, Bran sent Shaggydog, along with Rickon and their companion Osha, to the Last Hearth for safekeeping under the protection of House Umber. But after Roose Bolton declared himself warden, the Umbers demonstrated their true colors with a certain mafioso flair, presenting Ramsay Bolton with Shaggydog’s severed head in order to prove the identity of their ward turned captive.

How many decapitated direwolf heads are too many decapitated direwolf heads? Because the head count is “two” and this list isn’t over yet. Grey Wind followed Robb and his bannermen through battles from Harrenhal to Riverrun before the two became casualties of the Red Wedding. In a final act of mockery, opposing soldiers sewed the direwolf’s head to Robb’s body and propped it on a horse, a horrible sight for Arya to see when she made it to the Twins.

The fate of poor, sweet Lady was a harbinger of things to come, as it was one of the first cruel and senseless deaths that would become this show’s signature. Lady was sentenced to death by Cersei for something she — the best behaved pup — didn’t even do, serving as a cold lesson for Sansa that nice manners won’t get you too far in King’s Landing. Still, despite Lady being the first direwolf to die, Sansa is a Stark who survived, with her direwolf’s memory remaining a symbol of what she’s lost and learned. And sure, Cersei’s been responsible for hundreds of deaths and had Jaime push Bran in the series’s first episode, but killing Lady is truly her original sin.

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The Pets Were the Best Part of the Game of Thrones Finale

Portrait of Gabriella Paiella

Warning: This post contains spoilers.

Last night, Game of Thrones ended with a series finale that left Daenerys dead, Bran the King of Westeros, Jon exiled to the Wall, Sansa the Queen of the North, Arya sailing into the distance, Brienne blogging , and weird breastfeeding kid suddenly hot . It was polarizing, to say the least, with viewers either finding it to be a satisfying conclusion or proof that they “wasted” eight years of their lives on a TV show (get a grip, please ). But that is neither here nor there — we’re not here to dispute the role of art or the issues with mass-market fantasy fandom. We’re here to talk about the pets.

First, Drogon finally got his chance to show his range as an actor/CGI creation in a terribly sweet and sad scene. Right after Daenerys gets stabbed in the stomach midway through making out with her nephew (hot!), Drogon approaches her dead body and gently nudges it, trying to wake her up. It’s the most heartbreaking moment of reptilian-based trauma since The Land Before Time .

Drogon and Daenerys.

Then, instead of avenging his mother by roasting up Jon, Drogon turns his pain onto the Iron Throne itself, melting it down in anguish because he knew that the pursuit of it is what ultimately led to Daenerys’s downfall. Damn. Game of Thrones creators have gotten quite a bit of flack for not having adequate character development this season, a critique I don’t necessarily agree with but, in this case, it wouldn’t have killed them to let us know some more about Drogon. We’ve know him for eight whole seasons, and just now learned that he can do advanced critical thinking? I thought he was basically at dog level: loyal, capable of understanding up to 165 words, incapable of grasping the intricacies of human desire for power.

Drogon burning the throne.

Then he sorrowfully flies off into the distance with his mom clutched in his claw. Come on!

Speaking of big dogs, Jon also reunites with his direwolf, Ghost. As you may remember from a couple of episodes ago, Jon left Winterfell without saying a proper good-bye to his pet — who lost a damn ear fighting for him — which the director chalked up to not having the CGI capabilities. Really makes up for him being doomed to a lifetime of celibacy in the snow.

Jon Snow and Ghost.

D. B. Weiss and Amanda Peet’s husband, give the people what they want: a spinoff series about these two.

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